Kickstarter Gear: Campaigns That Caught Our Eye

Wool and Prince Micro Merino Button Down Oxford Shirt

Product: A micro merino button down Oxford shirt that Wool and Prince put a tester in for 100 days. According to the company, their shirt won’t wrinkle, smell or look dirty, even if you wear it for 100 days without washing. And it’s temperature regulating, so great all year round, not just in winter.

Why the world needs it: Gentlemen—imagine how this could save space in your wardrobe, not to mention time doing laundry and dry cleaning bills. Wool is a sustainably harvested fiber, and requires less water and pesticides than cotton to grow, plus eliminating dry cleaning is a service to your wallet and the environment. And, wool lasts six times longer than cotton.

Jury Says: We love wool, and the Wool and Prince shirt fills a niche that hasn’t been nailed by any of the leading merino wool companies yet. The 100-day challenge was playful and poignant, and the shirts look gorgeous. In fact, we can’t wait to get our hands on one. Clearly we’re not the only ones. This campaign raised ten times its goal before it closed. $98, woolandprince.com

Stash Waterproof Pocket Pants

Product: Stash Incorporated is developing and patenting a waterproof pocket to incorporate into its clothing and gear—including swimwear, life vests, waders, backpacks and jackets. The Stash Pocket allows you to safely take your cell phone, wallet, and keys with you wherever you want. 

Why the World Needs It: Who hasn’t dived into—or been thrown into—a lake or ocean, with pocket contents being an afterthought. Who has been on vacay at the beach, jonesing for a swim, and unsure if leaving your phone and wallet on your beach towel is really the best plan.

Jury Says: With just a few hours left, this campaign doesn’t look like it’s going to succeed. Are too many waterproof cases already on the market? This one seems unique, but limited in that the pocket being developed is for Stash’s own apparel—it’s not a universal solution. $79, Kickstarter still going as of Wednesday!

Night Runner LED Shoe Lights

(Douglas Storer)

Product: A pair of clip-on rechargeable lanterns for your running shoes, each Night Runner unit has four 45-lumen white LEDs in a durable and water resistant housing. These flashlights for your feet claim to illuminate your path sixty feet out and make you easily visible to motorists—ideal for dawn and dusk runners and those who run at night. The lights attach to your shoelaces, and turn on with the push of a button.

Why the World Needs It: The Night Runner inventors say headlamps create glare and prevent a runners pupils from properly adjusting to low light. The low angle of Night Runner’s light beams is better at illuminating irregular pavement, roots, and potholes.

Jury Says: It’s hard to know if these lights are an improvement over existing products without trying them. The Kickstarter campaign still has some time left, but backing is lagging. The inventors aren’t offering any particularly personal incentives, like a night run with the inventor, entry into an after dark marathon—you know, the extra special bonus programs that get you emotionally involved with the product. And at any level of support, Night Runner is charging $8 shipping for a set of its lights, which sponsors might interpret as being nickeled and dimed. $58, nightrunnerled.com

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